Three Afghan soldiers once on the run from Camp Edwards are now being held at a federal detention center in New York as they wait to learn their fate and see if they will be sent home where they say they will be killed.
The men were taking part in a training program on Cape Cod when they decided to make a break for Canada.
“I told them ‘OK, I’m going to Canada,’ and they said ‘I’m going with you,’” Capt. Noorullah Aminayar said.
His plan was simple, and the other two men joined in quickly.
They were on a trip to Walmart when they went AWOL and started the journey that turned them from soldiers to fugitives.
“We knew that if the US police captured us maybe they’d put us in jail, but we didn’t have another way,” Aminayar said.
The men didn’t know each other before their trip to Camp Edwards, but they soon found out they all had something in common.
“The Taliban called my family and told them ‘he’s not Muslim,’ take my family, kill them,” Capt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada said.
Each man’s family had been contacted but the Taliban, and each man’s life and family had been threatened.
“They will find me because now in Afghanistan everyone uses the internet they shared my pictures and Facebook with each other,” Aminayar said.
Those threats made it easy for the three men; Aminayar, Askarzada and Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, to decide to try and seek freedom.
The men say they didn’t visit Zachary’s Pub, a strip club on Cape Cod, because they were only interested in asylum, not women.
They took a taxi from Cape Cod to Boston’s North End that night, then convinced a cab driver to take them to Niagara Falls.
“He said ‘why aren’t you taking a plane, why aren’t you going tomorrow,’ he had a lot of questions we told him we liked night trips,” Askarzada said.
The men had the $1,600 fare in cash and paid the driver before the 468 mile drive.
They thought the trip would mean freedom, but they were detained at the border, returned to US and are now being held in federal detention center.
The men all have children, they say they were hoping to escape the reach of the Taliban and bring the families to America to join them.
Two of the men said they wanted to go to Canada because they have family there.